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Also at JBER was the Japan based F-15C from Kadena and the US Marine Corps VMGR-152 with their KC-130 from Iwakuni.All participating F-22 Raptors (one squadron from Langley AFB and two squadrons resident to JBER), and the E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft also operated out of JBER during NE15.Several US Army bases were also used during the exercise, including Fort Greely and Fort Wainwright, which was used for a large paradrop using C-17s.A Tactical Air Operations Centre (TAOC) was set up at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), close to the town of Anchorage.In Alaska, the participants had to train interservice cooperation between all the different branches, as well as working with units from bases outside Alaska.Even though it was an “air-centred” exercise, four US Navy ships as well as troops and ground vehicles joined close to 200 aircraft during the two week long exercise during June of 2015.
Usually Northern Edge takes place every other year, but it was cancelled in 2013 due to the sequestration, which put a stop to all non-essential exercise due to the financial crises facing the USA at the time.
The host, Alaskan Command, described this as: “Alaska’s leading joined training exercise, designed to train operations, techniques and procedures, and to increase the interoperability between the service branches.” Northern Edge can trace its roots back to 1975, with exercise Jack Frost (1975-1979), then Brim Frost (1981-1989), Arctic Warrior (1991-1992). Alaskan Command is unique in the sense that it is made up of units from many different branches, who together defends America’s “Last frontier”.
Even though they report directly to the US Northern Command, Alaskan Command units routinely work with the geographically close US Pacific Command units.
A lot of residents in Alaska depend on the ocean, not only to make a living, but also as part of their cultural heritage.
This factor meant that the Navy worked very hard to communicate how the exercise would impact the environment of Alaska as little as possible.